Hey, how about we go to Jupiter! This post details our planning to take our travel trailer to Jupiter, Florida and watch the St. Louis Cardinals at Spring Training.
The Cardinals Spring Training games occur during late February/early March. The cost per night (on hotels.com) for a hotel room in Jupiter during this time ranges from $249 to $780 per night. Of course, we will not be in a hotel room. We will be in our lovely Micro Lite at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The state park is 9.6 miles – 16 minutes – from Roger Dean Stadium. Reservations can be made 11 months in advance. Popular campgrounds often fill up quickly once the booking window opens. So, in late March 2019, we made our reservations for late February 2020. We reserved a full hook up site at Jonathan Dickinson for 2 weeks. Total cost: $412.56
It’s a number of months after March before the next step. In August, the Cardinal Spring Training schedule is announced, and this year games will be from February 22nd to March 23rd. However, tickets are not on sale at this point. Later, in October, we were notified by email that 4 packs were now on sale. So, we bought our 4 pack tickets on October 18th right after receiving that email. Note: We had previously signed up for email notifications from Roger Dean Stadium. The total for 2 tickets, 4 games was $293.10.
As a side note, even though we purchased the Spring Training tickets in October, the tickets are not sent out until mid-January. Dan is in charge of these tickets.
The next part of the plan deals with driving from St. Charles and to Jupiter. The drive from our home to Jonathan Dickinson State Park is 1160 miles, 17 hours according to Google. In our Prius, we would plan on 2 days, but pulling our Micro Lite Travel Trailer, we plan on 3 days. Ha ha, now isn’t that a funny picture – a Prius pulling a 23 foot travel trailer? Of course, we have to use our Ford Expedition.
Since we are taking the trailer, we must get it de-winterized before heading south. We make plans to do this the morning we leave. Given it is still winter, we cannot do this in advance. Once it is de-winterized, we will continue south, heading to our first stop.
We divide the trip in 3 segments which allows for enjoyable travel days. The first stop is around Nashville. Great! There are 2 Corps of Engineer campgrounds near there where we can stay for $10 or $12 per night due to Dan’s National Parks Senior Lifetime pass. However, we learn these campgrounds do not open until April 1st for one and mid-May for the other. So, we use our Boondockers Welcome membership and found a host right near Nashville for this first night. This host requests a $10 donation which is fine with us. However, as usual with Boondockers Welcome hosts, one makes the request not more than one month in advance. So, we mark the calendar again. We are on top of this, and one month out, we make our request, and it is accepted.
Our next stop on the way to Jupiter is Adel, Georgia, and we choose Reed Bingham State Park. We have a full hook up site for $41.04. Reservations can be made at Georgia State Parks up to 13 months in advance. One needs to research the reservation policy for each campground as they all are different, and, as popular as rv-ing is, reservations are needed, especially on weekends. Since our stay was a Thursday night, we were able to get a spot even though we didn’t book until late January. Whew!
At this point in our planning, we are in Jupiter, enjoying the baseball games, the weather, the ocean and all the other fun stuff which we don’t know about yet but will be reported on in a future post.
Now it’s time to think about heading back home. Since we will be home in a few days, we are sure to remind those at home that we are heading back. This will give them several days to clean up and get everything back in order.
Logically, we would go back the same way we came, but since we are leaving Jupiter on a Friday, the policy at our first stop, Reed Bingham State Park, requires a 2 night reservation since it is the weekend. We learn if we avoid traveling on weekends, we will avoid the 2 night policy, and it is usually much easier to get reservations for these 1 night stops. We’ve also learned there can be tons of traffic coming home on a Sunday (especially from Branson), so we want to avoid that, if we can.
Back to this trip. It is the weekend, and we don’t want to stay 2 nights, so we pursue other options. We don’t find a nearby Boondockers Welcome host with an electric hookup. As a side note, most hosts do not offer full hook ups, but we can survive for one night with just electric.
We then check into private campgrounds, usually our last resort. We end up making a reservation at the Tifton KOA in Tifton, Georgia. Tifton is 24 miles north of Adel, so we are pretty close to keeping our trip back divided into thirds. The Tifton KOA, full hook up site costs $41.00 which is actually 4 cents less than the state park. When we made this reservation in early February, there were 3 full hook up sites left. Another Whew!
Our final night on the way back will be in Nashville. We plan to request our same Boondockers Welcome host; however, we must wait until it is one month or less before our arrival. So, this is the last date to note. When that day comes, we’ll make the request. If for some reason it doesn’t work out, we can fall back to a private campground, possibly a KOA will be A OK.
Does it seem to be a lot of planning? It is, but anticipation is part of the fun. All this planning does take time. I am careful about it, thoroughly checking out each campground. I want safe, clean and pretty campgrounds while balancing the budget. I use Campendium immensely. Dan and I review the maps to set distances for each day’s travel as well as location of the campsite in relation to the highway.
When we first made plans to go to St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training, honestly, we did not quite realize how very far Jupiter is from our home. We are very much looking forward to this trip, but both Dan and I have said, this is likely the only time we will go to Spring Training. We may visit Florida again, but I just don’t know if we will go that far south again. It will be interesting to see what our perspective is after our trip.
That’s our planning. Did we miss anything? If you’ve been to Cardinals Spring Training, Roger Dean Stadium or the Jupiter area, do you have any tips for us? What’s your method or recommendations when traveling? Whatever the strategy, I hope it’s fun!